All technology has a life cycle, and even advanced technology becomes antiquated over time. Tracking tags were revolutionary when first implemented. Being able to track the source of a sale allowed the digital marketing industry to flourish and fueled the growth of affiliate networks. Unfortunately, the pressures and inaccuracies inherent to third party tracking tags make the technology inadequate to carry the industry forward.
Third-party tracking tags have become the status quo allowing performance networks to report credit for sales that were touched at some point during the customer journey. This approach enables a performance network to claim value for any sales touched by one of their affiliates regardless of how the brand values or attributes the sale. Further complicating the problem is the recent privacy pressures on tag tracking and the use of pixels and cookies such as GDPR, ITP 2.X, and ad blocking technology, causing even more confusion and discrepancy between the brands’ analytics and the network’s reporting. Rarely does the network’s tracking align with the brands’ internal analytics source of truth, such as Google Analytics or Adobe.
As brands work with more networks, confusion over what really drove sales is giving rise to whole attribution industries promising to unravel the customer journey. Misaligned sales attribution has become pervasive considering the various tracking tags that may be a part of a brand’s digitals marketing campaign. Google, Facebook, and the affiliate network all employ tracking technology, and each could potentially claim credit for the same sale. So who really gets credit for that sale? Who’s driving the value that is aligned with the brands attribution?
With pressure mounting on tracking tags, relying on this technology sets the affiliate industry on a path that hinders precision, growth, and trust. The impending issues will lead to an even greater discrepancy between actual and reported sales and will cause more inaccuracy in terms of being able to ascribe accurate sales attribution and marketing spend. The attribution confusion and resulting over-attribution is causing brands to overpay for the sales they are receiving, inflating the return on ad spend (ROAS).
Considering the conflicting data and the reliance on last touch and increasing privacy concerns, why are we still relying on technology that ultimately slows the optimization and growth of the affiliate marketing industry? What if we can bypass all of that and work within the brand’s source of truth – whether that’s Google Analytics, Adobe, or another analytics source – to assign attribution value and avoid third-party tracking entirely?
This is exactly where new technology is needed to take the industry into the next phase of growth. There should be alignment with what your analytics platform is reporting based on your established attribution model. It’s time for companies to take back control.
Pernix is a server-side solution that aligns sales and costs from performance platforms and networks to the brand’s source of attribution truth. Digital marketers now can have complete transparency to the source of the sales and which publishers are driving sales that are aligned with brands’ attribution.
Pernix is the start of a movement to introduce trust and transparency to the digital marketing ecosystem. True success is not merely increasing sales, but calculating the most optimal model that attributes successful tactics accurately to enable more significant investments in the channel. Early users are already seeing incredible results: A popular global retailer of unique socks and underwear tapped Pernix to eliminate the conflicting data between what their network tracked and what Google Analytics reported. By excluding sales that were not truly last click by affiliates, the company saved approximately 15 percent and saw a 135 percent increase in return on ad spend.
Today, most companies have an internal analytics solution and an internal source of truth. Many have spent a lot of time and energy, making sure that their internal analytics are correct because that’s the information they trust most to make the best business and investment decisions. And that’s where attribution modeling must take place. Both affiliate agencies and advertisers who manage affiliate programs must rely on their own source of truth to apply their own attribution with a server-side solution that puts the control back in their hands – and not rely on outdated approaches to attribution.